I’ve never been hugely fond of florals when it comes to clothing – there’s always the risk that you’ll look as though you’ve dressed yourself in a pair of curtains, when what you were really aiming for was something bohemian and quirky. For this reason, floral items must be carefully selected; prints should be striking, fabrics should feel luxurious, cuts should cleverly flatter the figure.
There seems to be a real trend for rich, dark, wintery florals this season and I think that they look so decadent and sexy. A great alternative to shimmer and sparkles, if you’re after something a bit different to wear to parties this Christmas – just add a vampish red lipstick and slick back your hair. It’s all very Gucci, but without the holiday-cancelling price-tag.
French Connection have aced the winter florals trend with their Celia maxi dress – it’s absolutely stunning. It has layer upon layer of beautifully printed fabric and feels incredibly expensive. It would also look equally striking (and appropriate) worn to a summer evening wedding as it would to a swanky New Year’s ball. It’s £185 here*.
Marks and Spencer have some great floral dresses – this white print on burgundy one looks as though it’s no longer available online, but the body-hugging jersey looks excellent with some tough, buckled boots. (These are the Merlin boots from Topshop.)
If it’s teeny-tiny you want then the velvet Rosetti wrap dress from Oasis is pretty short and sweet. The wrap detail is flattering, the fabric is gorgeously soft and the colour feels suitably festive. You can find it online here* for £50.
LK Bennett have collaborated with fashion label Preen to create a capsule collection of striking dresses; this is the Reed Rose Print. It makes a bit of a statement with its Victoriana lace neckline and bold floral pattern – the sheer sleeves, the floaty cut, it’s modern-girl-meets-Jane Austen. You can find it at LK Bennett here*.
And finally, French Connection again with one of the heaviest, most luxe-feeling tops I’ve worn! It must have half a mile of velvet draped down the back of it! Just lovely. Again, that dark floral print that’s somehow so naughty…
…and a high-neck cut with shoulders revealed, which is all rather unexpected. You can find the Lisette halterneck top at John Lewis here* – it’s £85, and looks fabulous with jeans and heels if you want to keep things relatively easy and effortless.
So there, some dark, deviant florals for you. I suppose that the general rule for winter floral-wearing is to keep the colours rich and expensive. Forest greens and decadent purples and flashes of sexy scarlet. Pastels? Avoid, avoid, avoid. Ditto any tailoring (or lack of) that makes you look as though you’ve just been swathed in something from the upholstery department. You want to look like a femme fatale, not like a Laura Ashley sofa… (“Oooh, you look funny! I didn’t know it was fancy dress. What have you come as?”)
(Many thanks – again – to Opium Bar in Bath for allowing us to shoot in their naughty little cocktail haven. My only regret is that we had to actually work rather than play – we’ll be back for some dirty martinis soon. If you’re in Bath then make sure you pay Opium a visit, it’s very dark and sexy and a brilliant place to stop in at on a night out.)